Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has told the Senate that the government is working towards settling the Sh150 billion pending bills owed to contractors.
At the same time, the Murkomen said that the eight-year-old impasse that had prevented the construction of a new terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after the contract was terminated in 2015, has been resolved.
He explained that the existing infrastructure at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was old and dilapidated having been in use since 1978 and the government was working towards ensuring that the airport is modernised to international standards.
“We have successfully resolved the caveat that had prevented the construction of the new terminal caused by a longstanding tussle between the past regime and the contractor whose contract was terminated in 2015. In the process we have saved the taxpayer Sh25 billion that would have been paid as compensation to the contractor,” said Murkomen.
The CS who appeared before the Senate plenary to answer senators questions said that out of the Sh150 billion owed to road contractors, being cumulative amount for the last two years, the government has been able to sort out Sh 17 billion and was working closely with development partners to settle the balance progressively.
He told the senators that even as the government works on stop-gap measures to address emerging challenges at the airport they are in advanced stages of constructing a new modern terminal within the next three years, that will guarantee incoming and outgoing passengers executive experience
Murkomen said that the new terminal will be a legacy project for President William Ruto’s administration and will cement Kenya's position as a regional aviation hub.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei who was kicked out of the House by the Temporary Speaker Abdul Haji (Garissa) after he insisted on asking supplementary questions.
“I have very pertinent supplementary questions that I wanted to ask the Transport Cabinet Secretary but I am very sure that he must have worked behind the scene to ensure that I did not get a chance to ask them despite coming to the Senate Chambers very early," said Cherargei.
The Nandi senator said that despite being in Kenya Kwanza Alliance he would not accept to have some Cabinet Secretaries failing to take their work seriously since he would be failing his constituents who elected him to represent them and champion their interests.
Cherargei wanted to ask Murkomen to give a detailed report on Kenya Airways fuel and fuel contracts, sales, marketing and promotional activities over the last 10 years and IT and legal fees during the same period.
The Nandi Senator wanted the CS to explain why Kenya Airways grounded three aircraft for eight months, why they could not be converted to cargo planes and whether they were for lease when the aircraft were parked
“I also wanted Murkomen to tell the Senate whether all stakeholders had approved the donation of a plane worth billions to Mangu High School yet the plane could earn millions of shillings during its daily operations, besides Kenya Airways giving an account of all bailouts,” said Cherargei.
The Nandi senator said that he also wanted to ask about government plans to renovate Eldoret and Kisumu airports and the Kerenga Airstrip in Kericho county which was in bad shape.